Sam Bailey was 'secretly mentored' by PR to the stars Max Clifford two years BEFORE auditioning for The X Factor

She won over X Factor viewers thanks to her down-to-earth charm and humble background.

Sam Bailey was 'helped out' by Max Clifford two years BEFORE The X Factor. Copyright REX

But now it has emerged that this year's winner Sam Bailey met PR guru Max Clifford two years BEFORE the show, after he heard her perform in a Cotswolds pub.

While his reps have reportedly denied that she had contact with Simon Cowell ahead of the show, a source has told MailOnline that Max 'spoke to him' about Sam.

[ Sam Bailey HAS spoken to Simon Cowell and he called her darling! Says it was 'inspirational'- EXCLUSIVE ]

[ X Factor: SAM BAILEY WINS SERIES 10 OF THE X FACTOR ]

The PR, who will stand trial over historic sex offence charges next year, told the paper that he met Sam and has helped her to 'open doors.'

Simon Cowell's reps have denied claims that he knew Sam before the show. Copyright WENN

He said: ''All I did for her was to open a few doors and talk to several influential people.

''The rest was up to her - and now she's big-time. But her success is all really down to her and her alone.''

But a source close to the PR told the paper that Simon WAS reportedly aware of Sam, saying:

''His involvement needed to remain under wraps - in fact, Max's role in talking to Simon about her talents, was one of the show's best kept secrets.''

Sam Bailey bagged this year's Xmas number one after winning the show, Copyright WENN

While Sam admitted on the show that she'd played a number of gigs in pubs and small venues, she is also thought to have performed at Max Clifford's birthday party and a series of charity events.

Former prison officer Sam got the Christmas number one this year after bagging more than a million votes in the final a few weeks before.

Name: Goldie

Alias: ‘Ding dong!’

Goldie did all the things a great contestant needs to do, she vomited into a bag. Tried to wrap her legs around Gary Barlow's head. Kept shouting "Ding dong" all the ... more 
Name: Goldie

Alias: ‘Ding dong!’

Goldie did all the things a great contestant needs to do, she vomited into a bag. Tried to wrap her legs around Gary Barlow's head. Kept shouting "Ding dong" all the time. Goldie was brilliant. However, she then dropped out after being worried ‘she would be the joke act’. We’re not sure what gave her that idea. less 
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Yahoo Celebrity UK
Tue, Oct 8, 2013 17:00 BST